Liverpool returned to the Champions League this year after what felt like an eternity away, and so far it's gone about as well as could be expected.
The Reds last played the competition in 2014/15 under the management of Brendan Rodgers, but it almost feels like that shouldn’t count as the squad was not well-prepared and did not give a good account of themselves. The team that played in the competition was not the team that qualified for it.
Luis Suarez had left and his departure had a burst balloon effect on the entire club. Daniel Sturridge was injured and did not play a single game in the competition either, and Liverpool embarrassed themselves, finishing third in a group that included Real Madrid, FC Basel and Ludogorets.
In addition, most of the squad did not have any prior experience of the competition at that time as it had been five years since they had previously rubbed shoulders with Europe’s elite.
It’s different this year. Liverpool have some of the best players in Europe currently, and they are understandably optimistic about their chances in Champion’s League this year.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have looked spectacular so far in Europe. Having initially had to win a playoff to even qualify for the group stages, Liverpool took the competition by storm and have two 7-0 victories under their belt already. The Reds have an excellent attacking unit with great goal scorers like Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the forward line.
Liverpool topped Group-E ahead of Sevilla and Spartak Moskva, winning three and drawing three of their six group games. The three draws should all have been victories as Liverpool dominated every game they played. Defensive meltdowns against Sevilla (twice) and poor finishing in Moscow meant they needed to win their final game to be sure of topping the group, and they did that in style when they smashed seven goals past the Russians at Anfield.
So Liverpool have reached the knockout stage of the competition for the first time since 2009. The question now is how far can they go? Sports betting are one of the popular ways to make money while enjoying your favourite sports and there are many sports betting sites available online. You can make predictions about popular sports events and place bets against them to earn money.
Klopp has assembled a team with a strong forward line, but they are still suspect at the back. The goalkeepers Loris Karius (who has played in all of the European games) and Simon Mignolet have not been in the great form this season as they have conceded many goals in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Sadio Mane is the star player in Liverpool and is known for his direct play, blistering speed and amazing goals. With Salah and Firmino alongside him, Liverpool have a brilliant combination of pace, versatility and talent which gives them a good chance to score goals against any team. Philippe Coutinho in the midfield is also doing great from behind this season and has excellent goal scoring potential from outside the box.
With established European clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli eliminated from the Champions League, things opened up more for Liverpool, who avoided some of the bigger names and were paired with Porto.
The Reds' attacking unit is one of the most powerful among all the clubs in England, and while their defence still remains suspect, they are working on improving those areas and are hoping to add Virgil Van Dijk in January.
Liverpool will always give the opposition a chance because of their capacity to self destruct, but such is their attacking prowess that they can compete with anyone in a two legged tie, particularly with the legendary power of Anfield.
Liverpool are a team that nobody will feel comfortable about facing, and while others will rightly be favoured more, that makes them a candidate to win the Champions League this season.